Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mr. Chewy

A little while back I received an offer from Mr. Chewy, an internet based seller of pet foods and supplies. I was asked to provide an honest review of their services in exchange for $50 worth of products.

Cat food gets expensive, so this offer was too good to resist. Several of the bloggers I follow were provided with the same offer and I read their reviews, most of which were positive. So, now it's my turn to provide my thorough review.

First off, Mr. Chewy's website is easy to use. As you can see, the categories are across the top. I was shopping for cat food and treats, both of which were very easy to find.

I knew I wanted to get some Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Dry Cat Food. It took about two clicks to get to the item. At $28.49 for the 15lb bag, Mr. Chewy's prices seem quite competitive to what I can find locally. The price is currently $33.88. 

The real financial savings for using Mr. Chewy for me comes in the tax savings. The sales tax rate where I live is 9½% and since Mr. Chewy doesn't charge me sales tax, I instantly save 9½% from what I can get locally. That could really add up over time.

On the Mr. Chewy site, I like that the ingredients for the product are right there. I wish they also posted the nutritional info as that would make comparing foods much easier, but now I'm nit-picking! The search feature of the website works wonderfully. I searched for Buddy's canned Friskies and 26 options came up. Being the persnickety cat that he is, he only eats the shreds variety. Narrowing the search to shreds reveals that Mr. Chewy only carries one flavor of shreds, which seems kind of odd since the local pet food store has lots to choose from.

All throughout the site is a banner promoting 15% off your order, "no coupon needed - automatically applied at checkout!" I don't like sales practices where important information is withheld until later in the process, and this 15% off deal feels deceptive to me. They don't tell you until later that to get the 15% off, you have to sign up for automatic reoccurring orders. I don't have a problem with such a promotion, it actually makes sense, I just wish they would tell you the details upfront.

I selected all my items and placed the order on a Tuesday morning. Later that evening I received an email stating my order had already shipped. Wow! With such prompt service, I had hopes of maybe getting my order later that same week. But that was not to be.

Mr. Chewy's shipping policy claims that orders over $49 ship for free in the continental United States. They also state, "And don't worry, we don't skimp on shipping. We ship via FedEx and several other premium carriers to provide you with the fastest and most reliable service available." My order was shipped via FedEx Home Delivery (not to be confused with FedEx Express), it's basically the same as UPS. Mr. Chewy also states, "You shouldn't have to wait to get your order! So we work hard to ship your order as fast as possible. Most customers receive their orders within 3-5 days of placing them." I'm guessing that "most customers" pertains to customers on the East Coast, where Mr. Chewy is located, as it took a solid week (Tuesday to Tuesday) for me to receive my order.

When my order arrived, it looked like it's voyage west was a rough one. The carton sported a big gash on the side and lots of extra tape across the top edge where FedEx attempted to compensate for the structural failure of the box. With that kind of damage, I wondered what I found find on the inside.

Nahum inspects the damage

Nahum checks out the damage from the top while Theo assists

I was surprised to find a free toy included with my order! Nahum loves
packing paper and there was a wad of it included.

Thankfully, there was no damage to the product, only to the shipping carton. I think this is a testament to the Taste of the Wild plastic bag packaging. Had I ordered something with a less impenetrable bag, I'm sure it would have ripped and lost it's contents. Mr. Chewy could do a much better job on their packing, especially with a heavy package traveling all the way across the country. I thought everyone in the shipping industry knew that empty space in a carton = opportunity for damage. That's why packing material that fills up the void space is used (packing peanuts, plastic bags of air, etc.) The small bit of packing paper was not nearly enough for this application.

The products themselves are just as I ordered. I was pleased to see that the expiration dates on the food were a year or more out, that tells me the food should be fresh and hasn't been sitting around in a warehouse for years.

A while back, when I purchased some wet and dry Taste of the Wild locally, I was impressed that the wet food came in steel cans. It seems most cat food comes in aluminum cans and having read that aluminum toxicity can contribute to all sorts of health problems, I would rather have steel. Interestingly, the canned Taste of the Wild from Mr. Chewy is in aluminum cans. Not a huge deal, but interesting.

So, to summarize, I made a list of positives and negatives.

Positives:    Negatives:
  • Competitively priced
  • Easy to use website
  • Items are fresh
  • No sales tax
  • Good selection of food, including many grain-free options
  • Fast order turn-around time
  • Also carry litter and flea treatments
  • 24/7 customer service via telephone or chat
  • Slow shipping to Pacific Northwest
  • Shipping carton not packed well
  • Estimated delivery window inaccurate for west coast
  • 15% off deal not clearly explained upfront
As you can see, the positives are more numerous than the negatives. So, will I be ordering from Mr. Chewy again with my own money? Maybe. For me price and convenience are important. Mr. Chewy has good prices, however, the long transit time and potential for damage gives me pause. If I planned ahead and ordered well in advance or used their automatic reoccurring order option then I would probably be fine. Although, I must admit, the possibility of receiving a ripped bag of cat food from a poorly packaged box makes me nervous. Mr. Chewy says they have a 100% unconditional satisfaction guarantee, which seems nice, but the hassles of shipping back the damaged product and waiting an additional week for a replacement shipment to arrive doesn't sound like much fun.

I'll probably order again in the future and when I do I'll let you know how it goes.

March 15, 2012 8:00pm PDT update

I received an email response from Brent this morning regarding a few of my concerns. He gave me some good information, so I thought I would pass it along.
Concerning the 15% off Banner, if you click on it, a small window should appear to explain the details of the offer. We have no intention of withholding important details, such as this, from customers until they are about to checkout. 
For shipping, we are always working with FedEx to make sure deliveries are made within good time and minimal damage to the packaging. If you ever receive ripped products you may choose to donate it or toss it. We also ship a replacement at no charge right away.


  1. Thanks be to goodness the contents were undamaged. That box was filled with real treasures, I think.

  2. actually Mr. Chewy can't post nutritional information, because pet food companies don't supply it. They do have "max and min" stats for some nutritional items of interest, but there is no pinning them down so they don't have to make it exactly the same each time..

    and I agree with you on the 15% off bit. I wonder if Mr. Chewy is even reading these or if they are just looking to get the word of mouth out of this.

    1. Connie - it's great to hear from you again!! We do read all of the reviews and comments that are written on our behalf, and we try to comment on all of them as well, but some of the comment platforms on certain blogs make it difficult for us to do so. Just so you know, we truly appreciate the fact that your first official review was about Mr. Chewy! Thank you again, and stop by any time! We love hearing from our customers and the wonderful bloggers who are kind enough to review our services!

  3. Thank you so much for this review! We sincerely appreciate your honesty. I apologize for the amount of time it took to receive your order - we are going to open another warehouse on the west coast in the future, but for now we're only able to estimate the shipping times according to what FedEx tells us. We strive for perfection, so all of the feedback we receive from our wonderful customers is taken very seriously, and we are working every day on improving! Feel free to call, chat or email us anytime - we're always here and happy to help!! Thank you again for your review!

    1. A west coast warehouse would be great! That would mean we could receive the order in the 3-5 day window which would be fantastic. And potentially with less distance to travel, there should be less wear and tear on the box. Thanks for the follow-up!

  4. I shall check out Mr Chewy as my ability to get out and shop becomes more limited. It would be interesting to follow a trail of dry kibble all the way back to the east coast! I ordered food from Drs Foster & Smith in the past and packing was no problem, but I cannot remember where it comes from. (Enjoy the snow Tuesday or did you get any?)

    Greg and the Gang of Four

  5. This is a very good honest review. We hope Mr Chewy takes the feedback positively and does something about it.

  6. This is interesting information...a good thorough review. I have not used Mr. Chewy. My reason for choosing not to is that, even though the cost is a bit more, I want to support local merchants. I have been purchasing from our local feed store for 20+ years. They have ordered products for me, helped me find solutions to problems, and have been a part of my life for a long time. It is too bad that I now have to pay more just to have that personal relationship but it is worth it. I want to support the economy of my small community. Candace

  7. What a good review. We've ordered from Mr. Chewy and have been pleased with everything. Except the last time we ordered we also received it in a large box where the contents were not packed in well and could move around. Our box wasn't damaged or anything, and the contents were fine, but we thought it was strange not to use a smaller box.


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